Weather and technical issues forced multiple launch scrubs Tuesday, but… – Ars Technica

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Weather and technical issues forced multiple launch scrubs Tuesday, but… – Ars Technica

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/ SpaceX held its Falcon 9 launch with 7 minutes, 1 second left in the countdown.

SpaceX webcastTuesday had the potential to be a pretty amazing day of rocket launches, with SpaceX, Arianespace, and United Launch Alliance all on the pad for their final orbital missions of 2019. Blue Origin, too, said it intended to fly the tenth mission of its New Shepard Launch system from West Texas.

But by early Tuesday, Mother Nature and the intricacies of rocketry had other ideas.

By around 8am ET, Arianespace said it was scrubbing the launch of a Russian-made Soyuz launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center in South America due to “high-altitude wind conditions.” Launch has been pushed back a day in hopes of better weather.

Shortly thereafter, Blue Origin said it was canceling Tuesday’s New Shepard launch because of a ground infrastructure issue. “The vehicle is in good standing,” the company tweeted. “Stand by for updates as we see what weather looks like for tomorrow.”

Then, just before 9:30am ET, after it had gotten to within 10 minutes of liftoff, SpaceX, scrubbed the launch attempt of its Falcon 9 rocket due to a first-stage propellant-temperature issue. “SpaceX team called a hold due to an out of family reading on first-stage sensors,” the company tweeted. “Vehicle and payload remain healthy; next launch attempt is tomorrow.”

That left United Launch Alliance, and its Delta IV Heavy rocket, scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8:57pm ET (01:57 UTC Wednesday). Unfortunately, weather conditions there were not promising at the West Coast site, with only a 20-percent chance of “go” conditions.

However, all of these scrubs set up the possibility of an even greater day of launches on Wednesday (weather permitting, of course!). That is because India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 is also scheduled to launch a communications satellite for the Indian Air Force on Wednesday, from the Satish Dhawan Space Center.

Theoretically, then, we could see the following launches during a 24-hour period from Tuesday night through Wednesday:

Delta IV Heavy 8:57pm Tuesday (01:57 UTC Wednesday)

GSLV Mk. 2 5:40am ET (10:40 UTC)

Falcon 9 9:07am ET (14:07 UTC)

New Shepard 9:30am ET (14:30 UTC) (estimated)

Soyuz 11:37am ET (16:37 UTC)

Of course, if the Delta IV Heavy scrubs on Tuesday evening, it likely would roll over 24 hours, so we still could have the potential for five launches in 24 hours. But again, weather and vehicles must all cooperate. Were that to happen at this time of year, it would truly be a Festivus miracle.

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